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THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary

September 21, 2011

REMARKS BY PRESIDENT OBAMA IN ADDRESS TO THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY United Nations New York. Moreover.the pursuit of peace in an imperfect world. That equal partnership will be strengthened by our support for Iraq -. Today.for its government and for its security forces. I would like to talk to you about a subject that is at the heart of the United Nations -. we've set a new direction. but a peace that will last.Osama bin Laden. even as the United Nations helped avert a third world war.” The men and women who built this institution understood that peace is more than just the absence of war. I took office at a time of two wars for the United States. for its people and for their . we still live in a world scarred by conflict and plagued by poverty. It was this killing that compelled the founders of this body to build an institution that was focused not just on ending one war. War and conflict have been with us since the beginning of civilizations. we cannot avoid having war brought upon us if there are convulsions in other parts of the world.M. fellow delegates.” The fact is peace is hard. New York 10:12 A. but on averting others. But our people demand it.for nations and for individuals -. It depends on struggle and sacrifice. not merely peace. Mr. Secretary General. and his al Qaeda organization -. As he said at one of the very first meetings on the founding of the United Nations.depends on a sense of justice and opportunity. America’s military operation in Iraq will be over. “have talked as if all that has to be done to get peace was to say loudly and frequently that we loved peace and we hated war. No American did more to pursue this objective than President Franklin Roosevelt. and on a sense of common humanity. At the end of this year.” she said. A lasting peace -.remained at large. Even as we proclaim our love for peace and our hatred of war. Over nearly seven decades. But in the first part of the 20th century. EDT PRESIDENT OBAMA: Mr. One delegate to the San Francisco Conference that led to the creation of the United Nations put it well: “Many people. the violent extremists who drew us into war in the first place -. He knew that a victory in war was not enough. of dignity and freedom. there are still convulsions in our world that endanger us all. We will have a normal relationship with a sovereign nation that is a member of the community of nations. President. Now we have learned that no matter how much we love peace and hate war. on compromise. “We have got to make. the advance of modern weaponry led to death on a staggering scale. a union of sovereign states that would seek to prevent conflict. while also addressing its causes. ladies and gentlemen: It is a great honor for me to be here today.

So. we are drawing down our own forces. The Security Council. One year ago. It’s also critical to the strength of the United States as we build our nation at home.must be our guide. So let there be no doubt: The tide of war is receding.N. and it will continue to decline. while building an enduring partnership with the Afghan people. but he ignited a movement. But they chose the dignity of peaceful protest over the rule of an iron fist. as a new tower is rising at Ground Zero. the hopes of the people of Tunisia were suppressed. When I took office. Between now and 2014. we have reason to hope. came together to support the will of the people. This year has been a time of extraordinary transformation. as a new flag went up in Juba. roughly 180. And last summer.000 Americans were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Those bedrock beliefs -. the world refused to look the other way. And Côte D’Ivoire is now governed by the man who was elected to lead. this has been a difficult decade. One year ago. there was an open wound and twisted steel. the United States and our coalition partners have begun a transition in Afghanistan. To do so. we must return to the wisdom of those who created this institution. Think about it: One year ago. and children finally knew the promise of looking to a future that they will shape. led by the United States and Nigeria and France. an increasingly capable Afghan government and security forces will step forward to take responsibility for the future of their country. and the rights of men and women -. the people of Côte D’Ivoire approached a landmark election. As they do. More nations have stepped forward to maintain international peace and security. And when the incumbent lost. “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and in rights. And in that effort. And more individuals are claiming their universal right to live in freedom and dignity. This is critical for the sovereignty of Iraq and Afghanistan. And Osama bin Laden. men and women wept with joy. former soldiers laid down their arms. the prospect of a successful referendum in South Sudan was in doubt. peacekeepers were harassed. Today.in the responsibility of states. and refused to respect the results.aspirations. yes. Ten years ago.” And Article 1 of this General Assembly’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights reminds us that." The balance of fear shifted from the ruler to those . will never endanger the peace of the world again. it symbolizes New York’s renewal. The United Nations’ Founding Charter calls upon us. a broken heart in the center of this city. “to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security. we stand at a crossroads of history with the chance to move decisively in the direction of peace. As we end the war in Iraq. that number will be cut in half. we are poised to end these wars from a position of strength. but they did not leave their posts. Moreover. U. when we met here in New York. But the international community overcame old divisions to support the agreement that had been negotiated to give South Sudan self-determination. even as al Qaeda is under more pressure than ever before. Its leadership has been degraded. "freedom. students spelled out the word. a man who murdered thousands of people from dozens of countries. By the end of this year. A vendor lit a spark that took his own life. In a face of a crackdown. But today.

young and old. So this has been a remarkable year. where Egyptians from all walks of life -. in the face of bullets and bombs. some ethnicities do not desire democracy.“all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” -.today. all of us have a responsibility to support the new Libya -. And the United Nations and its member states must do their part to support those basic aspirations.the new Libyan government as they confront the challenge of turning this moment of promise into a just and lasting peace for all Libyans. we've seen a government that refuses to recognize the rights of its own people. From Tripoli to Misurata to Benghazi -. “Our words are free now. The Qaddafi regime is over. Yesterday. the United Nations lived up to its charter. Arab nations joined a NATO-led coalition that halted Qaddafi’s forces in their tracks. Peace is hard. Gbagbo. The Security Council authorized all necessary measures to prevent a massacre. the eyes of the world were glued to Tahrir Square. And now the people of Tunisia are preparing for elections that will move them one step closer to the democracy that they deserve. and the idea that change could only come through violence has been buried with him. the United States is reopening our embassy in Tripoli. Prosperity comes slowly. But for 18 days. We saw in those protesters the moral force of non-violence that has lit the world from Delhi to Warsaw. The way things have been is not the way that they will be. Dictators are on notice. from Selma to South Africa -. But let us remember: Peace is hard. The measure of our success must be whether people can live in sustained freedom. And we have more work to do. and the will of the Libyan people could not be denied. . the will of the coalition proved unbreakable. Day after day. some religions. dignity. Egypt had known one President for nearly 30 years.that he ruled. Forty-two years of tyranny was ended in six months. And when they were threatened by the kind of mass atrocity that often went unchallenged in the last century. Now.demanded their universal rights. This is how the international community is supposed to work -. The youth are delivering a powerful rebuke to dictatorship. Progress can be reversed.and we knew that change had come to Egypt and to the Arab world. Libya is free. and individuals claiming their rights. As we meet here today. One year ago. Muslim and Christian -. men and women and children are being tortured.nations standing together for the sake of peace and security. In Iran. The humiliating grip of corruption and tyranny is being pried open. they showed relentless bravery. Something is happening in our world. One year ago. Ben Ali. Societies can split apart.” It’s a feeling you can’t explain. the Libyan people refused to give back that freedom. Mubarak are no longer in power. But faced with bullets and bombs and a dictator who threatened to hunt them down like rats. The promise written down on paper -.men and women. and this week. Osama bin Laden is gone. the leaders of a new Libya took their rightful place beside us. We will never forget the words of the Libyan who stood up in those early days of the revolution and said. and rejecting the lie that some races. Technology is putting power into the hands of the people. some peoples. the people of Libya were ruled by the world’s longest-serving dictator.is closer at hand. In the months that followed. The Arab League called for this effort. and security.

that the Palestinian people deserve a state of their own. And the question for us is clear: Will we stand with the Syrian people. particularly this week. In Bahrain. that for many in this hall. women and children gather by the thousands in towns and city squares every day with the hope that their determination and spilled blood will prevail over a corrupt system. We must work with Yemen’s neighbors and our partners around the world to seek a path that allows for a peaceful transition of power from President Saleh. the United States will continue to support those nations that transition to democracy -. America is a close friend of Bahrain. That is what our people deserve. One year ago. and we will continue to call on the government and the main opposition bloc -. It will be hard. Thousands have been killed. the United States has imposed strong sanctions on Syria’s leaders. Now is the time for the United Nations Security Council to sanction the Syrian regime. Those are the elements of peace that can last.and the peace and security of the world -. I know. we will have to respond to the calls for change. justice that is equal and fair.with greater trade and investment -. but it is possible. Throughout the region.we must speak with one voice.detained and murdered by the Syrian regime. and a movement to free and fair elections as soon as possible. And we will always serve as a voice for those who've been silenced. men. dying for the same values that this institution is supposed to stand for. Now. But we will always stand up for the universal rights that were embraced by this Assembly. Moreover. or with their oppressors? Already. standing silently in the streets. And we’ve sanctioned those who trample on human rights abroad. The Syrian people have shown dignity and courage in their pursuit of justice -. many during the holy time of Ramadan. but also with civil society -. In Yemen. and America does not expect to agree with every party or person who expresses themselves politically.protesting peacefully. We supported a transfer of power that is responsive to the Syrian people. but more is required. respect for the rights of women and minorities. We believe the patriotism that binds Bahrainis together must be more powerful than the sectarian forces that would tear them apart. We’re pleased with that. We have banned those who abuse human rights from traveling to our country. and to stand with the Syrian people. We believe that each nation must chart its own course to fulfill the aspirations of its people. I stood at this podium and I called for an independent Palestine. and that is the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.so that freedom is followed by opportunity. steps have been taken toward reform and accountability. I believed then. on governance that is transparent and accountable. America supports those aspirations. We will pursue a deeper engagement with governments.the Wifaq -. and I believe now. political parties and the press. Thousands more have poured across Syria’s borders. But for the sake of Syria -. There's no excuse for inaction. there's one issue that stands as a test for these principles and a test for American foreign policy. Those rights depend on elections that are free and fair. But what I also said is that a genuine peace can only be realized between the .students and entrepreneurs. And many of our allies have joined in this effort.to pursue a meaningful dialogue that brings peaceful change that is responsive to the people.

Israel’s citizens have been killed by rockets fired at their houses and suicide bombs on their buses. other children are taught to hate them. and the negotiations that can deliver a Palestinian state.not us –. Israelis must know that any agreement provides assurances for their security. with no limit to what they can achieve.and that’s part of what . That’s the lesson of Sudan. it is the Israelis and the Palestinians -. peace depends upon compromise among people who must live together long after our speeches are over. despite extensive efforts by America and others. Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations -. It’s well known to all of us here. But understand this as well: America’s commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable. the parties have not bridged their differences. Now.Israelis and the Palestinians themselves. Israel. Ultimately. look out at a world where leaders of much larger nations threaten to wipe it off of the map. long after our votes have been tallied. That’s the lesson of Northern Ireland. It is precisely because we believe so strongly in the aspirations of the Palestinian people that America has invested so much time and so much effort in the building of a Palestinian state. And so we believe that any lasting peace must acknowledge the very real security concerns that Israel faces every single day. Those are facts. Israel deserves recognition. Ultimately. I put forward a new basis for negotiations in May of this year. The Jewish people have forged a successful state in their historic homeland.each side has legitimate aspirations -. I know that many are frustrated by the lack of progress. it is the Israelis and the Palestinians who must live side by side. just as friends of Israel must recognize the need to pursue a two-state solution with a secure Israel next to an independent Palestine. where ancient antagonists bridged their differences.who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: on borders and on security. It deserves normal relations with its neighbors. so am I.if it were that easy. There’s no question that the Palestinians have seen that vision delayed for too long. where a negotiated settlement led to an independent state. Our friendship with Israel is deep and enduring.the question is how do we reach that goal. Palestinians deserve to know the territorial basis of their state. And friends of the Palestinians do them no favors by ignoring this truth. They cannot be denied. But the question isn’t the goal that we seek -. Faced with this stalemate. And that is and will be the path to a Palestinian state -. And I am convinced that there is no short cut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades. One year later. on refugees and Jerusalem. it would have been accomplished by now. Israel’s children come of age knowing that throughout the region. That basis is clear. Peace is hard work. a small country of less than eight million people. That is the truth -. The Jewish people carry the burden of centuries of exile and persecution. Ultimately. We seek a future where Palestinians live in a sovereign state of their own. and fresh memories of knowing that six million people were killed simply because of who they are. I assure you.negotiations between the parties. Let us be honest with ourselves: Israel is surrounded by neighbors that have waged repeated wars against it.

And to do so.that peace is not just the absence of war. a summit in Seoul will advance our efforts to lock down all of them. as it was. we’ve strengthened the treaties and institutions that help stop the spread of these weapons. This body -. we must confront the common enemies of humanity: nuclear weapons and poverty. And the United States is committed to meeting our obligations. To bring prosperity to our people. And that is what the United Nations should be focused on in the weeks and months to come. we must also recognize -. Closed societies gave way to open markets. ignorance and disease. That is the project to which America is committed. Over the last two years. to the dignity of every single person -. But even as we meet our obligations. Now. each side can see the world through the other’s eyes. And the deadlock will only be broken when each side learns to stand in the other’s shoes. There's a future of greater opportunity for the people of these nations if their governments meet their international obligations. That’s what we should be encouraging. out of the ashes of war and genocide. and our nations are pursuing talks on how to achieve even deeper reductions. That’s what we should be promoting.we must also remind ourselves -. even as we confront these challenges of conflict and revolution. In this effort. That is what our commitment to peace and security demands.must recognize the reality that is lived by both the Palestinians and the Israelis. And yet. we must come together to pursue the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. Emerging economies from Asia to the Americas have lifted hundreds of millions of people from poverty. and to understand each other’s hopes and each other’s fears. There are no shortcuts. These forces corrode the possibility of lasting peace and together we're called upon to confront them. America will continue to work for a ban on the testing of nuclear weapons and the production of fissile material needed to make them. The Iranian government cannot demonstrate that its program is peaceful. And to do that. It has not met its obligations and it rejects offers that would provide it with peaceful nuclear power. Innovation and entrepreneurship has transformed the way we live and the things that we do. But if they continue down a path that is outside international law.makes peace so hard. we've begun to walk down that path. dedicated. The measure of our actions must always be whether they advance the right of Israeli and Palestinian children to live lives of peace and security and dignity and opportunity. North Korea has yet to take concrete steps towards abandoning its weapons and continues belligerent action against the South. as it is. they must be met with greater pressure and isolation. The New START Treaty between the United States and Russia will cut our deployed arsenals to the lowest level in half a century. To lift the specter of mass destruction. Next March. we must promote the growth that creates opportunity. It’s an extraordinary achievement.founded. Since our Nuclear Security Summit in Washington. And we will only succeed in that effort if we can encourage the parties to sit down. nearly 50 nations have taken steps to secure nuclear materials from terrorists and smugglers. we must continue to hold accountable those nations that flout them. let us not forget that we’ve made enormous progress over the last several decades. three . True peace depends on creating the opportunity that makes life worth living. to listen to each other. And so we have begun to move in the right direction.

Too many others are struggling just to get by. The United States has made it a focus of our engagement abroad to help people to feed themselves. We must take urgent and coordinated action once more. and support organizations that can reach those in need. and detect. and fight every kind of biological danger -. Too many people are out of work. That is what our commitment to the next generation demands. And together. To preserve our planet. and support others as they move down that path. We will focus on the health of mothers and of children. And to make sure our societies reach their potential. we must continue our work to build on the progress made in Copenhagen and Cancun. our conscience calls on us to act. So we will work with emerging economies that have rebounded strongly. boosting domestic demand while slowing inflation. America signed an agreement with the World Health Organization to affirm our commitment to meet this challenge. We stand with our European allies as they reshape their institutions and address their own fiscal challenges. Together. We have to tap the power of science to save those resources that are scarce.years ago. To stop disease that spreads across borders. In a global economy. And today. And together.whether it’s a pandemic like H1N1. Markets remain volatile. Here in the United States. And today. so that rising standards of living create new markets that promote global growth. No country can afford the corruption that plagues the world like a cancer. or fall.our fates are interconnected. or a terrorist threat. Let us show that the life of a child in Somalia is as precious as any other. That’s what our commitment to prosperity demands. we must act on the belief that freedom from want is a basic human right. at the same time as I’m committed to substantially reducing our deficits over time. We acted together to avert a depression in 2009. We will continue the fight against HIV/AIDS. Together. That is what our commitment to our fellow human beings demand. we must insist on unrestricted humanitarian access so that we can save the lives of thousands of men and women and children. leaders face a different challenge as they shift their economy towards more self-reliance. we must work to transform the energy that powers our economies. together. And that crisis proved a fact that has become clearer with each passing year -. tuberculosis and malaria. This week. That is what our commitment to the health of our people demands. I urge all nations to join us in meeting the HWO’s [sic] goal of making sure all nations have core capacities to address public health emergencies in place by 2012. nations will rise. we must strengthen our system of public health. To combat the poverty that punishes our children. we confront the challenges that have followed on the heels of that crisis. as drought and conflict have brought famine to the Horn of Africa. or a treatable disease. And we must come together to prevent. we must not put off action that climate change demands. Together. we must harness the power of open societies and open . we must continue to provide assistance. And today. we must allow our citizens to reach theirs. I've announced a plan to put Americans back to work and jumpstart our economy. we were confronted with the worst financial crisis in eight decades. so that all the major economies here today follow through on the commitments that were made. Around the world recovery is still fragile. Our common humanity is at stake. For other countries.

Thank you very much. . but also no country should deny people their rights because of who they love. As we live in a world that is changing at a breathtaking pace. Yet that is precisely why we have built institutions like this -. let us make peace. let us be resolved to see that it is defined by our hopes and not by our fears. most importantly. together. And when the cornerstone of this very building was put in place. but we know that it is possible. and love and worship our God. This is what our commitment to human progress demands. President Truman came here to New York and said. to love our families.to live with dignity and freedom. to get an education and pursue opportunity. that’s a lesson that we must never forget. to help us recognize ourselves in each other -. and freedom is preferable to suppression. This week. No country should deny people their rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. but from citizens. And no country can realize its potential if half its population cannot reach theirs. we represent citizens who share the same basic aspirations -. and carry with us different histories.economies. Next year.to bind our fates together. Conflict and repression will endure so long as some people refuse to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. that will last.because those who came before us believed that peace is preferable to war. That’s why we’ve partnered with countries from across the globe to launch a new partnership on open government that helps ensure accountability and helps to empower citizens.” The moral nature of man’s aspirations. no single path to success. and prosperity is preferable to poverty. That’s the message that comes not from capitals. So. It is the nature of our imperfect world that we are forced to learn these lessons over and over again. I know there’s no straight line to that progress. But let us never forget that even as we gather here as heads of different governments. which is why we must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere. from our people. the United States signed a new Declaration on Women’s Participation. but a peace. “The United Nations is essentially an expression of the moral nature of man’s aspirations. Peace is hard. Together. to live in the kind of peace that makes life worth living. we should each announce the steps we are taking to break down the economic and political barriers that stand in the way of women and girls. We come from different cultures.